Preparation for a road trip down to New Orleans only meant one thing: 5 Pimsleur language learning courses checked out from our local library! To be clear, Pimsleur courses are not effective in the long run, but there’s input nonetheless. Still, how much input is there…really?
Classroom Management is paramount. Without it, none of the strategies to provide students with CI stand a chance. They don’t stand a chance because students who aren’t paying attention aren’t receiving any input (I) at all, let alone input that’s comprehensible (C)! Of aaaaaaaall the systems in place to manage the classroom, though, comprehension checks are probably the most effective, yet most overlooked…
Keith Toda just posted about writing simple texts and parallel stories for extensive reading use, such as during Free Voluntary Reading (FVR). Follow this template to create simple texts from scratch using the Sweet Sēdecim (Top 16). Also follow this template starting with any text (e.g. the simplest version of an Embedded Reading, a parallel story, a textbook chapter, a Write & Discuss, details from Discipulus Illustris, a myth, etc.). This will get you practice writing for the novice:
(is, is in, likes)
(there isn’t, doesn’t have, wants [to ___], wants to go)
– Interactions: (sees, hears, says, thinks, knows)
- New Location(s):
(leaves, comes to, is in, goes)
– Interactions: (sees, hears, says, thinks, knows)
- Resolution/Unresolved Ending:
(if item/object: someone carries, puts, gives, if action: character is able)
Example: Here’s a 250 total word length story I could add to the FVR shelf as another comprehensible option…
Can’t get to a workshop, or conference? Well, first try Comprehensible Online, which starts tomorrow! Otherwise, have you watched every CI YouTube video out there, and want more training? Take a step back, be a CI ninja, and realize who’s in front of you each day. Our own students are usually an overlooked source for training us to provide comprehensible input (CI)! Sure, we hone our questioning skillz every day, but students can provide something more…
At CANE’s 2018 Annual Meeting this past weekend, Lindsay Sears gave the rundown on bottom-up and top-down approaches to creating tiered versions of texts. What caught my attention was seeing how just a few messages of unadapted Latin became paragraphs of comprehensible text for the novice. That is, the original 8 lines of poetry (of 46 words; 45 of them occurring 1x) nearly doubled in length with each tiered version. The result is students reading MORE Latin that they understand, especially if they read all tiered versions. Lindsay knows how to tier texts, and she does it well.
Beginning with 8 lines of Ovid that few students could understand without pages of notes and a dictionary, we were shown how to get subsequent versions down to one that ANY novice could read. Her steps were clear and concise; moreso than “make each version simpler.” Here they are as distilled as possible. For bottom-up stories (e.g. text to accompany MovieTalk), reverse the order:
1st Tier down from original
– begin with a compelling text (already with high frequency words, if possible)
– rearrange order to be clearer & shorten sentences
– break into paragraphs to create white space & supply verbs/subjects
– replace vocab/obscure names with synonyms
– simplify complex constructions (i.e. make meaning clearer, which might mean using the subjunctive!)
– add anything missing
– break up all compound sentences, removing conjunctions
– keep simplifying & remove “flavor text” (i.e. unnecessary) modifiers/adverbs
– replace vocab with high frequency & entire explanatory phrases/sentences!
– short sentences & basic idea
Do you have one set of cards taped to chairs, and distribute duplicate cards to students as they walk in for randomized seating? Do you have a left side/right side of the room labeled for Total Physical Response (TPR) groups? Try adding these for novelty…
Instead of cards taped to chairs, just shuffle and deal to students at the start of class (while they’re reading the one thing you’ve typed up?). Student pairs find each other, and either work together, or just sit next to one another for randomized seating.
Print and laminate images/names of things from the target language-speaking world. Keep them organized, and grab a new set every few days/week. For example, my room is labeled Rome and Pompeii for left/right, but I have other sets of cities, monsters, heroes, authors, social classes, etc. tucked away in a drawer. Next week, I could distribute 1/2 social class pulārēs and 1/2 optimātēs to the class, and have each sit on different sides of the room. This both mixes up the seating as well as gives new groups for TPR, etc. For small groups, say, One Word At a Time Stories (OWATS), I could distribute the chariot racing factions Alba, Russāta, Prasina, and Veneta, or just combine any pairs already formed, etc. This is just one more way to infuse target-culture into your class.
My go-to homework is to read/reread a text from class. This is largely the honor system, banking on students finding the text compelling. There are those who want to see EVIDENCE that reading took place, though. Under such conditions, I don’t really want to hold a reading quiz the next day in order to catch and trap students who had too much Science the night before. Thus, I need a solution…